Yaphet Kotto, the villain from James Bond’s Live and Let Die and the star of Alien, has died aged 81.
Kotto pulled double-duty in his appearance in 1973’s Live and Let Die as he performed as not only the corrupt Caribbean dictator Dr. Kananga, but also the drug smuggling Mr. Big. Kotto’s role in the film is one of the definitive villain performances across the Bond franchise, and his role was more three-dimensional than many Bond villains.
Six years later, he then played technician Dennis Parker in 1979’s Alien, and he later performed as William Laughlin alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1987 action film The Running Man. Kotto regularly served as a television actor, including a lengthy role portraying Al Giardello in the NBC series Homicide: Life on the Street from 1993 to 1999.
He was born in New York City on November 15th, 1939, and first got into acting after attending the Actors Mobile Theater Studio aged 19. Just three years later, Kotto made his first appearance on stage in Othello and regularly performed on Broadway.
His first film appearance came in 1964’s Nothing But a Man, but his Bond role opened the most doors for Kotto’s career. His most recent role came as voicing Parker in the Alien: Isolation video game. His wife and six children survive Kotto.
“I’m saddened and still in shocked of the passing of my husband Yaphet of 24 years. He died last night around 10:30pm Philippine time,” his wife, Tessie Sinahon posted on Facebook. “You played a villain on some of your movies but for me you’re a real hero and to a lot of people also. A good man, a good father, a good husband and a decent human being, very rare to find. One of the best actor in Hollywood a Legend. Rest in Peace Honey, I’m gonna miss you every day, my best friend, my rock.”